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Sturgeons and Paddlefishes: Acipenseriformes

Beluga Sturgeon (huso Huso): Species Account

Physical characteristics: The beluga is the largest sturgeon. It can be as long as 28 feet (8.5 meters) and can weigh 2,866 pounds (1,300 kilograms), although such large ones are rare. The body is gray or dark green with lighter sides and a white belly.

Geographic range: Beluga sturgeons live in the Black, Caspian, and Adriatic Seas in Europe and Asia and in most of their tributaries.

Habitat: Beluga sturgeons live near the shores of seas and in large channels of rivers.

Diet: Young beluga sturgeons eat invertebrates, such as mollusks, worms, and crustaceans. Adults eat other fishes.

Behavior and reproduction: Adult beluga sturgeons live at sea for most of the year but travel up large rivers to spawn in late spring. The young travel back to the sea immediately after hatching. Beluga sturgeons mature slowly and live as long as 150 years. Females may The beluga is the largest sturgeon. It can be as long as 28 feet (8.5 meters) and can weigh 2,866 pounds (1,300 kilograms). (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.) produce more than seven million eggs, but reproduction occurs only once every five to seven years. Beluga sturgeons spawn by scattering eggs and sperm in the water over the rocky bottom.

Beluga sturgeons and people: Beluga sturgeons are valued as a source of caviar.

Conservation status: The IUCN lists beluga sturgeons as Endangered. They may be extinct in the Adriatic Sea. ∎



Berra, Tim M. Freshwater Fish Distribution. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2001.

Gilbert, Carter Rowell, and James D. Williams. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Ricciuti, Edward R. Fish. Woodbridge, CT: Blackbirch, 1993.

Schultz, Ken. Ken Schultz's Field Guide to Freshwater Fish. New York: Wiley, 2004.

Schultz, Ken. Ken Schultz's Field Guide to Saltwater Fish. New York: Wiley, 2004.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesSturgeons and Paddlefishes: Acipenseriformes - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Sturgeons, Paddlefishes, And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT